Sunday, December 31, 2006

Snot fest 2006

As of tomorrow evening we'll have been home with Maisie for an entire week, which is so difficult to believe. Also difficult to believe is that we're still sick, but getting better everyday. I still don't have a voice so most of my limited talking has been to Little Miss M. I'm surprised that she knows who I am day to day as I've gone from sounding normal when we met, to my Barry White voice and now on to this squeaky, broken weird voice, but she knows me and is more and more attached each and every day.

Maisie's personality comes out more and more each day and we're slowly working on getting her adjusted to life here and working on conquering her demons. Even though she is sick and having to adjust to so many new things and surroundings, she is a joy and we are so blessed to have her in our lives. She now does OK in her carseat but only when the car is in motion. Each day she spends a little more time in her highchair which allows both Eammon and I to eat at the same time. She'll do a little bit of independent play as long as Eammon and/or I are no further than 3 feet away. Next we'll work on getting her into her stroller and most importantly into her crib. Maisie has been attached to me virtually 24/7 since returning home and while I do love having her so close and allowing her to bond with me, sometimes this girl needs a rest as well as some private time in the bathroom.

We've been well taken care of by friends who have grocery shopped for us as well as all the wonderful meals that have been brought over. Even though everyone has been anxious to meet Miss M, we've really appreciated the time and space that we've been allowed to not only bond with Maisie but also for us to recover but we look forward to seeing everyone very soon and introducing you all to our beautiful daughter. I've added some Maisie pictures below, most from our time in China as well as a couple from home. I still plan to post about out trip once things settle down.

Wishing everyone a wonderful New Year.

No way, no how are you getting a picture of me on that sofa. Red couch photo op at the White Swan, Guangzhou.
Juan, our Beijing guide holding Maisie.
Lots of people wanted their picture taken with little Miss Maisie.
At the Great Wall.
Snuggled in Baba's arms whilst touring the Ming Tombs.
OK, I'm in the highchair but I'm not loving it.
Independent playtime.
Maisie & LiLi's first play date.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Just a quickie.

Hi everyone, sorry I haven't posted in a long time but over the past nine days or so, I've had neither the opportunity nor the energy to even turn on the computer let alone post. We had a fabulous trip and I'll be posting all about it with lots of pictures, but right now I just wanted to let everyone know that we're home after the longest Christmas day ever. We started our travel day in Beijing at 5 am Christmas morning and arrived at our home Christmas night around 7 PM which works out to be a total elapsed travel time of 27 hours.

We all arrived home sick so the next morning at 10 am we were all in the doctor's office. Maisie has ear infections in both ears, a cold and is teething. Eammon has an ear infection as well as a bad head and chest cold. And then there is me, I did really well in China considering I went into it with pneumonia and sounding like death warmed over. I was really feeling better by about day 6 of our trip but by the time we got to Beijing on the 21st, I was starting to spiral downward. We had a fabulous trip and hopefully I didn't whinge too much about being sick and piss off my travel mates and we got to do just about everything we had planned, but I probably made myself a lot sicker by pushing so hard. So I too have an ear infection as well as pneumonia along with all the symptoms of the flu; body ache, headache, vomiting, dizziness, etc but luckily don't really have the flu...geez, lucky me!! When we all went to the doctor yesterday I had to also have a breathing treatment as my oxygen level was low and last night I seriously considered having Eammon take me to the hospital as I was having so much difficulty breathing but instead returned to the doctor this morning for another breathing treatment and more drugs. We've been sleeping as much as possible and with Maisie sick too, she's happy just being quiet and sleeps a lot so that is helping us get some rest too.

So here we are home, exhausted, sick, all on antibiotics and a myriad of other drugs but I can't complain as we have little Miss Maisie, the drooling snot factory home with us now. I saw that I have over 1,000 emails to look at but those will have to wait until some of these drugs really kick in for all of us and I can keep my eyes open and my head up for more than just a few moments.

Thanks to everyone who has followed along with us and I promise I'll post all about the trip soon. Sleep for now...night.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Postcard from Beijing

Hi this is Julie W for Lisa. Lisa, Eammon and Maisie made it safely to Beijing on Thursday. They had a very LONG day today that began with the Cloissonne factory and the Great Wall and ended with the Peking Acrobats. Lisa is still getting over her illness. Needless to say they are exhausted and too tired to connect to the internet. They will be heading home on Monday - and will post from Atlanta!

Monday, December 18, 2006

You don't know me but...

I've been stalking your blog for ages. Eammon and I have heard this line numerous times everyday and it's so fun to meet so many wonderful people. I only wish that more of my bloggy friends were here experiencing this wonderful adventure with us right now.

I can't believe how time is flying. We've been with Maisie for an entire week and the terrified, withdrawn little girl that we met that first day is not the little girl that we have now. Each day she opens up more and is able to experience new emotions and situations and builds trust. Things that we can't do one day because she hasn't learned to trust us, the next she's doing and loving. As long as it doesn't involve the crib, a high chair or a stroller. Just two days ago she wouldn't allow us to lift her in the air above us, now she giggles and laughs when we do. For days she had to be in constant contact with one of us, we couldn't leave her playing on the floor with her toys and even stand up without her melting down, now she'll play for a while and as long as we're not too far away and she can see us, she knows that we'll be here for her.

I have so many pictures to post and so much to blog about as China and this trip are just amazing, but as I said in my previous post, we've been so busy and of course little Miss Maisie demands and deserves all of our attention. In addition blogger has been less than cooperative in posting my pictures.

Our time in Guangzhou is almost at an end, I can't believe how this trip has flown by
and though I've had enough of the paperwork and required appointments, I wish that we had a lot more time here, a return visit is a must. Since arriving in Guangzhou we've done all the paperwork required for Maisie's visa. Our travel group took the obligatory red couch photo which when blooger allows me to post the picture, you'll notice that Maisie wasn't going to participate, no way, no how! We also completed her medical exam which she was none too pleased with either. Maisie and I went on a tour to see the Old Chen House which was just amazing, we also went to the Buddhist Temple where all the children were blessed and then we went to a Provincial Arts and Crafts shop where I purchased an inside painted bottle for Maisie and had her name painted on the inside by the artist.

I can't believe that we leave for our Beijing tour in just three days, I can't believe how the time has passed.

Here are the pictures that blogger allowed me to post and they're , in no particular order, hopefully more pics tomorrow.
Keep these doctors away from me. This is the required U.S. Consulate medical exam where they check the babies height, weight, hearing, eyes, throat and overall condition. Maisie passed even with her constant screaming.

Maisie loves the talking and walking Tigger in the White Swan play room.
Our little princess.
I'm going to get you!!
Having fun with Baba.
Maisie flying.
Standing around looking adorable.
Maisie loves coming towards the camera and trying to grab it.
I know you think I'm fabulous but no more pictures!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

What the fans have been asking for, pictures!!

Sorry I haven't posted in a bit but we have been so busy with Maisie Miao Miao, the official paperwork and just taking in all that we can as far as the sites, the days have been flying by. China is fabulous and though living out of a hotel room isn't always the easiest thing to do, I do wish that we could slow the days down and have more time here. We loved Chongqing and hope to return one day soon so that we can see much more than we were able to on this trip. I feel like we got one lick of a tootsie pop and have yet to get to the chewy center.

We're now in Guangzhou at the White Swan Hotel where there are hundreds of families with their new children. It's just crazy to see so many new families and to finally meet so many of the people whom I've been talking to online or whose blogs I've been reading for so many months. Eammon and I have had dozens of people come up to us and introduce themselves to tell us that they've been reading our blog for so many months and were excited that they'd be able to meet us here at the White Swan. Not only do we get sort of celebrity status from the Chinese people who crowd around us to see the baby but we're sort of getting it from all the wonderful people who have been following our journey and reading our blog. I've loved meeting every single person and of course meeting their beautiful babies too.

We also have a great travel group and we've been having so much fun with them, plus they all tolerate Maisie's screaming and laugh along with Eammon and I when she goes into one. I'll have to post more pictures and tell more about the sites we've seen but that will have to be in another post. So as I said, we're at the White Swan and we had to take the flight from Hades to get here. Not that there was anything wrong with the flight, it's just that Miss Maisie prefers that whomever is holding her, is standing % of the time. She also decided to do a Linda Blair from The Exorcist on the plane throwing her head around in circles as she arched her back and screamed continuously. "Your Mother darns socks in Hell!!!" Sorry, that was the BBC version there. Once off the plane you'd never know that she been a screaming banshee the entire time, she was just all smiles and not a care in the world. Well, that and I was carrying her walking around.

More about Maisie:
She loves both the hip hammock and the baby bjorn but you have to be standing and preferably moving.
She hates the stroller so Eammon and I have very sore backs right now.
She loves playing with other babies, especially ones a little older where she'll imitate them and try to do whatever they do.
She hates the crib.
She's a flirt with the boy babies and has a little crush on baby Kai.
She will not eat any food or any liquid other than her formula.
She loves being kissed and nibbled on and will belly laugh when we nibble her ribs.
She doesn't like crowds or when the old ladies come up and surround her or try to touch her.
She's shy and will snuggle into our necks to hide her face.
She doesn't like having her diaper changed, but hates having a dirty diaper.
When held, she likes touching skin.
She hates if Eammon or I leave the room or are out of her view.
She loves being with both of us but when upset generally will snuggle into my neck.
She thinks that prime play time is from 2-5:30 am.
She's the cutest, "bestest" little girl in the world.

Since we went carry-on-only, I've been asked what from our list we could have done without and was there anything that we feel we missed in our packing. Here is our packing list and I can only base what I'm saying on the three cities and hotels where we've stayed thus far so I'll update this information after we have our stay at the final hotel in Beijing. Our three cities and hotels have been: The Regal Kowloon, Hong Kong, The Golden Resources Hotel, Chongqing and the White Swan, Guangzhou.

There is nothing that I've needed thus far that we didn't pack so I would have to say that for us, my packing list has worked out really well. The one thing that I know I packed and just couldn't find until after I went out and bought some more, were diaper pins which I've been using to tighten up Maisie's pants as she's so thin her pants keep falling down. Other than that we've bought formula, the rice cereal and water, everything else we've bought, chocolate, pastry and souvenirs are just things to buy.

All three cities have had an abundance of western snack foods and western fast foods if you want that, so don't worry about bringing snacks and food. We did bring 12 granola bars just in case we were stuck at an airport or hungry along the way and Eammon may have had one or two, we didn't need to bring that many with us.

We don't use one, but all the hotels have had hair dryers in the bathrooms, so you won't need one of those.

All the hotels provide new toothbrushes and toothpaste daily so don't bother bringing a toothbrush but if you want toothpaste with a minty fresh taste, bring that along or you can buy it in any of the cities at the supermarket.

All the hotels daily, provide disposable double blade razors and shaving cream and will give you as many as you need.

All the hotels provide these wonderful little wooden combs and there too, leave a new one or two everyday.

I had been concerned about the bath gel, shampoo and conditioner as I have very dry skin and hair and can easily look like Rosanne Rosanandana, but the quality of what all the hotels have provided has been great so I wouldn't bring any of that next time.

We haven't used 99% of the meds that we brought, but better safe than sorry on that one.

I feel that we brought enough clothes and have done laundry a couple of times so I wouldn't change anything there either.

OK, enough talk, here's the eye candy that you've all been wanting.
Travel group 1077 at the Golden Resources Hotel, Chongqing.
Moms with their babies.
Dads with their babies.
Happy Maisie at the White Swan Hotel, Guangzhou.
And she sleeps.
So cute.
Our little princess.
Toothy grin.
Coming for the camera.

Thursday, December 14, 2006


Even though in the pictures, Maisie is nothing but adorable, she really had a rough go of it yesterday. She awoke early after a fitful night and in addition to lots of grieving on her part, she's also cutting a tooth or two so somewhat out of sorts. She was extremely clingy and for most of the day she wanted to be held and not just held but walked around. How do these kids know when your bum is not only sitting but even when it's mere inches from the seat?

Eammon was completely exhausted from so little sleep the past few nights so he decided to forego the days tour of Ciqikou, the old city. I wanted to go and get out for a bit but decided to leave Maisie at the hotel with Eammon, so I gave him her schedule and was on my way.

Most of the families met in the lobby and then we boarded a bus to Ciqikou, Old Town. Along the way our guide Marie gave us some background about both Chongqing and Ciqikou. Old Town which consists of two narrow streets in a "T" shape are
supposed to be representative of life in China in the 1970'. Yes you read that correctly, it's called Old Town and it's representative of the time when I was a child!!

There were many little stores selling all sorts of clothing,candy,
food, musical instruments, silk items, junk you don't need and plastic. It was fun walking around though and seeing how some of the items were made.

The top picture shows a little of what the street looks like. Next is a woman grinding soy beans so that she can make Fresh tofu. The two men in the next picture are hammering a candy that is made out of sesame seeds. They seem to make two kinds, one with black sesame seeds and one with white. They were good
so I bought a little to bring back for Eammon to try. The next picture is of a man making beautiful candy lollipops using only a spoon filled with molten, caramelized sugar. The final picture shows women getting the silk from the silk worm.

Also as we drove over there, there were what looked like garages built into the side of the hills and some had shops in them while others were locked. They were actually bomb shelters used during WWII when Chongqing was used as the War time Capital of China and was heavily bombed. The city is amazing and the traffic crazy. Lane markers are painted just like in other countries, but here if you saw say three lanes, cars are five or six across, cutting each other up and of course all with out any indicators. Funny thing is, I haven't seen any cars with dents.

Once I returned from the outing, Eammon went off to get a massage while I stayed in the room and played with Maisie and got all of the play pictures. Eammon has had a massage everyday since we got to China, he's going to be one disappointed boy once we return to the real world and he has neither the time nor the money to do that little activity everyday.

For dinner the three of us along with another couple from Atlanta, Booker, Becky and daughter Ruby George went with one of our guides for a hotpot dinner. It was fabulous and we'll do it again tonight and hopefully convince some other couples to join us. Most of the people were afraid that it would be too hot and spicy, but it really wasn't, as long as you didn't eat the little Schezuan peppercorns which for some reason Eammon couldn't managed to avoid.

After dinner we had a little playdate in our room with Ruby George and Kai Owen. Getting the babies together really helped them come more out of their shells and it was fun to spend some time with other people in a relaxed atmosphere. Well that was until Maisie decided to download a stinker and once that diaper was opened and everyone's nose hair was burned away, the evening came to an end.

I've been asked many questions in both comments and emails, so I'll try to answer them here.
The cakes in Hong ,one was a white chocolate mousse cake with Kirsch and the other was a chocolate cinnamon mousse. Both were quite good but the white chocolate one was the better of the two.

It is true that Eammon ate dog as well as some other interesting dishes such as fish tongues. He was adventurous and said it all was good and interesting.

Maisie is 14 months old, born October 17, 2005.

Her latest report says she weighs 8.2 kg, is 71 cm tall and has 6 teeth, four up and two down.

She wears 6-9 month clothing if two pieces or a dress but because she is long, onsies are 9 month+.

She is on a milk based formula and though the report says that she has had rice porridge, vegetable juice and broth, she'll have nothing to do with any of them.

The nannies called her Miao Miao so we've been calling her Maisie Miao Miao.

She is very serious, cautious and timid but has a good laugh when she gets going.

She is the crier of the group, lucky us!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

First bath and playing around

Sorry, just too knackered to post and I know all you're interested in is Maisie Miao Miao, so here you go. A big hi though to all my friends in Aruba who are following along and a big thanks to Bea for printing out my posts daily.

I'm not so sure about this.
Maybe this could be fun.
Yeah life's good.

That's all for today.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

More Maisie

Yesterday afternoon we took a bus over to the Registration office where we received the babies around 2PM. On the way over we were told in which order the babies would be presented and it worked out that we were alphabetically last,
thus the last to receive our child. I had thought that the babies would be in a different room from us and brought in one by one, but when we got off the elevator on the fourth floor, right there were all the babies dressed identically, tooling
around in their walkers. Two babies were being held by the Nannies, one was asleep and the other wide awake, was Maisie. Well that's when I started crying, seeing her holding on to her Nanny. We watched as all the babies were presented and then it was finally our turn and Maisie just looked at us like she knew us and seemed OK with things. She didn't cry, whimper or make any noises at all, but she kept watching us and snuggling in close to us.

Wan Chun Miao's Chinese citizenship was revoked, a family picture was taken, we each put our fingerprints in red to seal the adoption and it was official, she is Maisie Miao Shanahan, our daughter.

We returned to the hotel, got her diaper changed, put on a new outfit and fed her a bottle as we waited for the doctor to come check on her. We knew it already, but the doctor confirmed that she is perfect. Currently her ears and chest are clear, no sign of congestion or a cold and her heart sounded good. She has good muscle strength, her hearing and vision seem good too.

We decided to go down to the hotel restaurant for dinner so I put Maisie in the hip hammock and we were off. I was pretty wiped out from the day as emotionally it was draining and though feeling much better, I'm still physically quite weak, so going downstairs for whatever they had sounded good. Eammon decided that he was going to try every item on the buffet including dog, yes dog!! I wasn't at all adventurous and stuck to grilled salmon, fruit and dessert. We fed Maisie her last bottle of the night at 9PM and then all of us went to bed. It took Maisie less than a minute to settle down in her crib with Eammon rubbing her back and she slept straight through until 7:30 this morning. Eammon and I though tossed and turned, were up for a couple of hours during the night talking, but Maisie slept like a champ.

She awoke this morning a very happy girl and wanted to be held and held and held. For her morning bottle, knowing that she'd be quite hungry, I tried out the U.S. bottles with the drop in liners and she was fine with them and drank down her entire bottle. Breakfast this morning was difficult to say the least. She was not going to sit in the highchair and only wanted her Mama. Needless to say, I ended up bring my plate to the room to have later in the day.

Today a tour of Chongqing was planned but I keep spiking a fever and it still hurts a lot when I breath so I decided to spend the day at the hotel with Maisie and sent Eammon off to see the sites. It was good that I didn't go as Maisie had a rough morning. She's starting to come out of her shell and showing a bit of her personality, but she's grieving. She'll be playing, playing, playing and then it's as though she gets a memory and starts to whimper and cry just a little. Once you hug her she stops, but the look, the whimper and the little bit of crying just come out of the blue. Today she's also being more vocal, making noises and she loves when we copy her and she'll look to both Eammon and I to mimic her. She also is starting to play with her toys, the favorite being an empty water bottle. She also likes these rings that are linked together, which she can hit the water bottle with, or her stuffed doll which has a rattle and makes noise when she hits the water bottle with it. She can stand and walk with help and she's a champ at crawling having us chasing after her at speed.

She just woke from her nap, and she's so cute how she sleeps with her bottom in the air. She's also a lot smaller than I had anticipated so tomorrow we'll probably go out and get her some clothes. Last night I had her in a 6 month sleeper which
she'll very soon outgrow and the outfit she's in today is a 6-9 mo. and it's almost a perfect fit, just a wee bit big. I think she's going to be a petite little girl. Her 12-18 mo. socks are huge but work well as knee socks. She'll probably be wearing 12 mo. shoes in the next month.

So far she's happy to go to both Eammon and I, with no real preference even when she's upset. Eammon still has yet to change a diaper but soon. She had her first poopy diaper this afternoon and Eammon realized that he won't have to go with a full biohazard suit and mask, it's just not that bad.

Thanks again for all the comments and emails, we've loved reading them all.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Family day!!

And then there were three!! Only ones crying were Mama & Baba.

In just one hour!!

It's here, today's the day!! This morning we had a group meeting and filled in all the paperwork so that later this afternoon we can go and get the babies!! We were shown how to make the bottles and then most of us went to the grocery store to pick up some supplies like bottled water, baby biscuits, diapers, pot noodles and chocolate so that we'd be all set when we meet the babies!!! Now we're waiting because in just under an hour we meet in the lobby for a short bus ride to the registry office where we'll get the babies!!! Off to pack the diaper bag. Back later with pics!! It's baby day, it's Maisie day!!!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Tomorrow is Maisie Day!!!

We had an easy and virtually empty flight from Hong Kong and have arrived safe and sound in Chongqing to be met by our guides Marie and Anita. We're now all checked in to the Golden Resources Hotel and preparing for our big day tomorrow.

The crib is in place, there's a baby tub inside the big bathtub and tomorrow is Maisie Day, hooray!!! Off to get some sleep while we still can. Thanks to everyone that has been leaving messages and emailing. I'm finally feeling better and sounding more human again. Tomorrow is Maisie Day!!!
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